Gas supplies under threat but 'will not run out'
Britain’s gas supplies are under pressure as a result of the cold snap but will not run out, the Government has insisted.
Energy firms and environmental groups alike have expressed concerns about the gas system and what the future holds for consumers in light of the current shortage. Gas stocks at the UK’s largest storage facility are at less than ten per cent of capacity.
Prime Minister David Cameron is “confident” that the UK’s gas needs are being met, and will continue to be met, however.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The absolute key thing on this is that supplies are not running out. The gas market is how we source our supplies and that market continues to function well.”
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A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokeswoman said: “Protracted cold weather increases demand but the UK gas market is responsive and our gas needs are continuing to be met.
“Gas storage would never be the sole source of gas meeting our needs, so it is misleading to talk purely about how many days’ supply is in storage.”
She said that while half of the nation’s gas needs were supplied from the North Sea, there were also pipelines from Norway and elsewhere in Europe, shipments of liquefied natural gas and storage.
“All can and are providing significant gas to meet the UK’s needs,” the spokeswoman added.
Energy firms say that new solutions are needed, however.
Andrew Horstead, risk analyst at energy and carbon specialist Utilyx, said: “The UK is becoming increasingly reliant on imported gas and the reality is that every day that this situation is allowed to continue, we risk the potential of rising bills without having the certainty that the energy will be there for us. A more diverse generation mix is the long-term solution but until then, the reality is that we need gas to heat our homes.”
Friends of the Earth said the current situation was “a glimpse of a miserable and worrying UK energy future”.